Q&A: Flo Vialan, Purity Brewing Co

Pub Diaries Q&A has a Gallic twist this week with words from Flo Vialan, head brewer at Purity.

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Your blurb…

I was born in Lyon into a family of butchers and the eldest of three children. I studied in France, starting with agronomy then finally graduating in bio-technologies and fermenting processes. After two years brewing in the French Alps I decided to spend some time in England for a change and new challenge. What began as a few months work experience brewing cask ale ended up with me staying for the past eight years. Along the way I met my wife Sarah, a beautiful Cornish lady, and we have two wonderful children. When I’m not brewing I play rugby for Stratford-upon-Avon – I’ve been playing rugby for the past 22 years. I’ve been the Head Brewer at Purity Brewing Co for 5 years.

Which 5 words sum up your brewing ethos…

Passionate / Focused / Perfectionist / Artistic / Craft

Beer epiphany…

I had some terrible early experiences with beer, but at the risk of sounding clichéd my most memorable beer experience was when I first came to England and had a pint of Timothy Taylor ‘Landlord’. It was a beautiful pint.

Best beer find of the last year…

‘Postman’s Knock’ porter from Hobsons Brewery – it is outstanding in its category.

What sounds are to be heard in the brewery…

Pumps, barrels banging and brewer’s whistling.

If I wasn’t brewing I’d be…

A farmer.

Before I was brewing I was…

A typical student. Beer, rugby, women.

Your favourite thing about what you do …

When the whole team comes together in a feat of harmony to brew the best beer we can.

Your greatest brewing achievement to date…

Mad Goose winning the gold medal in its category at the SIBA National Awards 2009.

Which breweries do you look up to…

Timothy Taylor and St Austell for their consistent, flavoursome beers.

Pub heaven…

Warm welcome, no music, a log fire and a good range of quality pints behind the bar.

Pub hell…

No real ale, loud pop music, flashy lights and fruit machines.

Favourite local pub…

The Hollybush in Alcester

Favourite non local pub…

The Merchants in Rugby

What advice would you give any aspiring brewer…

Listen to your customers and don’t cut corners.

What’s on the horizon…

Building a bigger brew house.

Finally, can you tell us a joke about beer…

A French brewer, a Scottish brewer and a German brewer are in the pub having a few beers. They all go to the toilet together. When finished, the Frenchman goes to wash his hands and takes lots of soap and paper towels proudly stating “in France we are very hygienic”. Next the Scotsman walks up to the sink, takes a tiny bit of soap and one paper towel and says “in Scotland we’re hygienic but we’re also cost efficient”. Lastly the German finishes and marches straight past the sink and out of the door saying “in Germany we don’t piss on our hands”.

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